Ex-Priest Quits Job at Prison in Grants

By Laura Bendix
Santa Fe New Mexican
March 1, 1995

A former Catholic priest accused of sexually molesting boys has quit the job he took in January as a psychologist with the state Corrections Department.

Sabine Griego, who has at least five sexual-abuse lawsuits pending against him, was hired Jan. 9 to work as a staff psychologist at the medium-security men's prison in Grants.

An Albuquerque newspaper published an article Tuesday questioning the state's decision to hire Griego.

Corrections Department spokesman Lou Armijo said Griego, who quit Tuesday morning, did not receive any pressure from the Corrections Department to resign and he did not know Griego's reason for leaving.

"And even if I knew, I couldn't discuss it because it's a personnel matter," he said.

Griego was not at the prison Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.

Armijo said that before Griego was hired, the state ran a pre-employment criminal background check on Griego, which came back clear.

"There was nothing to be concerned about as far as we were concerned," Armijo said. "If he was convicted of a criminal charge, that would be a different story."

According to court documents, Griego was first accused of molesting children while serving as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Las Vegas, N.M. Abuse was also reported while Griego served at Immaculate Conception Parish, also in Las Vegas, and at Queen of Heaven Parish in Albuquerque.

He was suspended by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1992 after the allegations surfaced. After his suspension, Griego studied psychology, including family counseling and medical ethics, at the University of New Mexico.

Prison Warden Joe Williams confirmed that Griego quit voluntarily, but refused to comment further and referred questions to Armijo.

Armijo said Griego was one of eight staff psychologists and the prison will not immediately suffer from Griego's absence. He did not know if the department would immediately seek a replacement for the job.


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